'Swatting' at birds


New member
Dec 12, 2000
Michigan's Upper Peninsula
For those not familiar with this terminology, it refers to shooting at a bird on the ground before it flushes.

Some consider this unethical/unsporting.... do you?

I'll tell you what: I flushed well over 100 partridge this year, and got 30 for the bag. My shooting was... lets just say, less than perfect. Once in a while the dog will flush a bird that merely hops into a tree, and I don't think twice about blasting him. A few times I've poked 'em off the ground, too, and I don't feel bad as usually the birds win.
I don't shoot birds on the ground. Had 2 phesants run on me last time i went hunting. If I was planning on aphesant dinner that night I would have no problem blasting them on the ground.
Hitting Michigan grouse, especially in the early season, can be a real tough event. I have no problem taking these buggers when I find them in trees or sitting on a log.

Figure I'm just getting even for every time they flush as I'm stepping over a log or fighting through the brush. Know what I mean Yooper ?
i hear that revenge thing they have scared the livin crap out-me more than once! seem they bust just after you pass them! i personally try to flush them back-up! for a shot!

Genesis 27:3 Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison
Wow, no "ground-swatting is not sporting" replies yet. When I am hunting grouse in the rockies, I shoot them where I see them, which is usually in a tree or on the ground. You shoot turkeys that way, so what's the big deal? It seems to me that the ruffed grouse were wilder than usual last fall. I'd say more than 75% actually flushed. Maybe it was the weather. Usually it's more like 25% and the grouse hunting feels more like squirrel hunting. They're usually dependable enough that a full-choked .410 is my gun of choice (head shots and no shot-up breasts). Blue grouse almost never fly past the nearest tree branch if they fly at all. The ruffs up in north Idaho are different, though. If you see one on the side of a logging road, it will usually sit there while you stop and get your gun out and it'll just let you shoot it. But if you're out walking they flush everytime and you often only hear wings but never even see it. When I'm duck hunting or pheasant hunting in KS, I shoot them on the wing. It's what I'm there for and it's actually law in KS. -al
I try to shoot all birds in the air. But with that said I have taken some dumb birds out of the breeding cycle.
This year was my daughters first hunting season. Her first kill was a sage grouse. I knew she would never be able to shoot one on the wing so I set up a blind and she shot one as it walked up to us. The broblem was the bird did not go down, it was wounded but it flew. So I shot it in the air and finished it off. She felt bad that I had to help her so I took her back. The next one she got was a fun hunt. The birds came in and milled around for ever. She picked out the bird she wanted and it was like a turkey hunt she waited and shot him when he got out in the open. Then she jumped up and screamed I GOT HIM!
As I understand it Pheasant and Quail can't be groundswatted here. However I have taken some that couldn't technically be considered flying( although I am sure their feet were off the ground).
Also since I hunt with a dog I need them to be elevated a little to avoid vet bills.
I'll shoot a grouse thats sitting on a stump or up a tree. Don't feel too bad about it. The blue gouse up here they call "foolhens". Sometimes they refuse to fly. Pheasants and quail I wouldn't. Dont bird hunt much any more, just the occassional grouse.

Live to Hunt-Terry aka Coydog.
Sometimes the grouse just won't fly. I used a good number of rocks and sticks on some grouse hoping to get them in the air with no luck. Just had to ground sleuce 'em. I still enjoy trying to get a big blue in the air as it dive through the thick Doug Fir. Good challenge.
I think lots of us have ground swatted our share of birds. Naturally, we'd all prefer to have our grouse flush in an opening when we're ready to shoot but that's not how grouse usually react! Where I hunt them, in Northwestern Ontario, it's too thick to send a dog in and try to work him. We just walk the old logging roads and I'll shoot behind them to make them flush and then shoot them out of the air...
i am not to big on ground sluicing them but with grouse it seems you can throw sticks all you want and they will wait to fly while you are looking for the next stick to throw so if they are sitting on a small enough branch i like to shoot the branch and then the bird in theory.
Well I think that i have been accused of that a time or 2 while chasin that sadistic little bird called a Chuckar ya know that bird that runs up hill and flys down then when ya get to the top of the first hill he runs up the next.....Ill chase him up the first hill but the second i draw the line..BOOM

If there isn't any dogs in heaven .....IAINT GOIN
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